Archive for August, 2013

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Valentine’s Heart – Fun with Punch Needle and Hoops

punch needle heart in embroidery hoop frame using dmc cotton 1 Valentines Heart   Fun with Punch Needle and Hoops

Discover how to sew using a punch needle and how to showcase your work

I recently discovered Punch Needle sewing and I absolutely fell in love with it. It’s more skilled than I thought it would be, the results are pretty robust and you can achieve some great results.

Now a lot of people do punch needle to cover a surface and there are a lot of dolls house rugs and small patterns around. I just like to break the mold a bit and up-cycle the craft to give it a new look so I opted for an embroidery hoop project. These small hoops can be purchased in bulk (the way I buy them) or singly at a craft store. They are great to use to frame projects – they are ideal for punch needle since you have to use one to use the punch needle anyway.

I went to my local fabric store and found some great linen. It has a fairly close weave and it is a medium weight. Its  neutral background makes it ideal for a punch needle project.

For this project I used two colors of 6 strand floss. I used a darker solid color for the edge and then a variegated thread for the middle. If you use variegated color thread then you get a mix of colors without having to change color so the piece has a lot of dimension and interest and you don’t have to stress over making this yourself.

You’ll need a punch and I use and recommend the Ultra punch which is around $20 and which comes with 3 needles and 2 threaders. You really need threaders and these are tagged with white tags so they don’t get lost. This punch also has a loop adjustment slider thingie on the side which makes it easy to vary the length of your loops.

To start out, place some linen in an embroidery hoop and mark out a heart shape on the back. Thread the punch with some dark orange color – DMC 6 strand cotton thread is awesome and it is cotton so it works well and has a great luster. I use 2 threads at a time in the punch needle.

If you are unsure how to thread a punch needle the spottedcanary.com website has a simple how to on it – once you’ve done it a couple of times it will be dead easy to do. If you are new to punch needle, then this is a good blog post on how to do it – created by someone who wrote a book on punch needle crafts.

Go around the heart shape outline a couple of times keeping your stitches close to each other and evenly spaced. You will work from the back of the piece so the loops are on the front. I usually do these two rows at a loop size one smaller that the rest of the piece. This gives it a neater edge and seems to hold the piece together better – particularly since we aren’t filling our canvas and we’re just filling the shape.

 

punch needle heart in embroidery hoop frame using dmc cotton 2 Valentines Heart   Fun with Punch Needle and Hoops

For the middle of the heart I used DMC Variations in an orange color mix. Thread the punch needle with two strands of cotton and start punching from just inside the border round and round to fill the heart. When you get close to the end of your cotton, finish that piece, thread the needle again and keep going until you are done.

Check that there aren’t any gaps and if there are then punch over them to fill them.

I removed the fabric from the hoop, trimmed the edges with Pinking shears and put it in a smaller hoop for display. I finished off with a loop of ribbon for hanging.

 

punch needle heart in embroidery hoop frame using dmc cotton 3 Valentines Heart   Fun with Punch Needle and Hoops

All in all it probably took around a half hour for this project – a quick and fun project that is done and ready to hang in a very short time.

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Sunday, August 11th, 2013

The #1 Secret for digging deep into Pinterest

Pinterest awesome search results The #1 Secret for digging deep into Pinterest

Seeing the same thing over and over again in Pinterest?
Here’s how to search Pinterest to find the coolest new stuff

I love Pinterest and I use it a lot for inspiration. However if you’re looking for felt projects and if you type felt into Pinterest – then after a while everything begins to look like everything else – you end up going in circles very fast.

You see, everyone else who loves felt projects is searching Pinterest and repinning what everyone else has pinned.

Hmm… so what if you want to find something just a bit different? Well searching for felt isn’t going to get you anywhere you haven’t already been.

Other searches like wool felt or felt projects are likely to be just as useless.

So what do you do?

Lucky for you I have a solution and it is one that is guaranteed to get you a whole lot of new stuff to enjoy.

I use this technique all the time to find a heap of new to me stuff on Pinterest.

You see there is more stuff there than you are finding – it’s just hidden away waiting for you to seek it out.

So I’m going to share my secret for finding new stuff on Pinterest.

The secret? It is all about  how you search Pinterest.

When you know how this secret works, you’ll find your own hidden source of Pinterest pins – with an aesthetic that is just a little different to the norm.

The secret has to do with the language you use. Well of course you use English – it’s your native language and it is what you speak every day. But so too does the person next door and across the country. We all speak English. So, when we search Pinterest we search using English words.

Now there are millions of other Pinterest users for whom English is not their first language.

So, if you search using words in another language you will find pins pinned by those people.

They probably live somewhere else than the US or UK (or other places that speak English) so their taste and aesthetics will be just a bit different because their culture, like their language, is different.

So, the secret is to search in a foreign language.

Hmm.. so far so good – but what do you do if you don’t speak a second language?

Well Google Translate is about to become your new best friend (well after me because I am your friend for telling you how to find heaps of cool new stuff!).

Here’s how to “soup up” our search for felt projects. We’ll start out by visiting  Google Translate and type the word felt into the box on the left and click English above it.  Then, above the box on the right, click French or Spanish or select any language that you think will be popular on Pinterest. For me, French and Spanish work well but sometimes northern European languages are great too. Not to mention how smart I feel when I search in Japanese!

How to search pinterest for cool and different stuf 2f The #1 Secret for digging deep into Pinterest

Click Translate and the word will be translated for you. Now check the definition to make sure you get the right meaning and copy the word and paste it into the Pinterest search box.

The result? Lots of wonderful stuff you won’t have seen before. You’ll be as excited about Pinterest as you were when you first discovered it.

How to search pinterest for cool and different stuff The #1 Secret for digging deep into Pinterest

Oh! and if you’re looking to get more traction on Pinterest for your own personal pins, consider including some foreign words in your descriptions to open your content to a wider audience.

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